Month: September 2019

The Best Suitcase Organizer (Ever)

The Best Suitcase Organizer (Ever)

There are two types of individuals when it comes to laundry. The individual who washes, dries, places in basket and then leaves in basket. The other type MUST fold and put everything away immediately. I am an open-minded person, and feel there is no right or wrong way to go about it. I personally subscribe to folding everything straight out of the dryer, and putting all of my garments in their respective places.

With that being said, one thing that bothers me about traveling is having to dig through suitcases. It is alright if it is just a weekend, but any longer than that, I cringe at the idea of it. Everything in my house isn’t extremely configured (I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about me), but there are a few things that are a necessity…suitcase organization is one of them.

Last year my husband introduced me to packing cubes. We bought a few and tried them out, and it was a game changer for traveling. It is like having drawers in your suitcase and makes it so easy to find what you are looking for. My favorite part about it is the fact that you can pull the cubes out of your suitcase and place them in drawers at your hotel or vacation rental home.

ebags Packing Cubes

This brand is by ebags and comes in an array of colors: aquamarine, black, blue dots, canary, eggplant, geometric, grasshopper, leopard, peony, and tangerine. These packing cubes are made of nylon and have breathable mesh on the top. Your purchase includes one small, medium, and large packing cube starting at $29.99 on Amazon. https://amzn.to/3012plQ

When our family went on our last vacation, we were away for almost two weeks. We didn’t have quite enough cubes, so we decided to try out a set by Amazon basics. These cubes are comparable as they are also made of nylon, and have breathable mesh as well. The Amazon Basics cubes come in a set of 4 in the following colors: black, blue, green, grey, sky blue, and red. You can find these cubes starting at $20.00 on Amazon. https://amzn.to/31qNKgx

My Opinion

Both brands hold up equally well. They are both made of the same materials, and the only difference is where the mesh is placed on the packing cube. Ebags offer more variety in colors, but Amazon packing cubes are more economical. I can honestly say that I don’t prefer one over the other, as both packing cube brands are equal in regards to quality. It all boils down to cost over option of colors.

Have you tried either brand of the packing cubes? Do you have a preference? What do you think of this method of suitcase organization? Let me know if you have in the comments.

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Adult Guide to Long Travel Days

Adult Guide to Long Travel Days

One of my favorite parts of vacation is traveling to the destination. I know that is the one detail that most people dislike, but hear me out. My husband frequently mentions that I need to take time for myself. It is something that I rarely do. I currently work 3 part-time jobs (my blog is included in that), instead of one full-time job because I love variety. I am extremely fortunate, as all of my jobs are able to be done from the comfort of my own home.

This sounds like a dream to many as they fantasize about working in their pajamas (that part can be true), running errands, doing laundry (ok, that can be true too), and even getting things done around the house. I have heard the opposite from people as well for fear of not being motivated to work. I have been working from home for quite some time now, so I am pretty good at staying on track with my tasks throughout the day. I would say that the main issue with working from home when you love your jobs is not knowing when to stop, hence where my self-care issue takes place.

Travel days are considered forced me-time in my eyes. I fill my backpack with fun activities, and the time just flies by. Listed below are my recent go to items that I truly enjoy:

VRBO

I absolutely love this bag by ebags. It can store your laptop as well as anything else you need to bring along on your trip. I love the back as it can slide over the handle on your luggage so that you don’t have to carry it around. It is available on Amazon for $99. https://amzn.to/319C6qg

If you love to do paint-by-numbers, you will love this sticker-by-number activity book. You won’t believe how many times I have been questioned at the airport on where I purchased my book. I usually end up spreading the love and pulling a page out to help someone with their boredom. Silvio Rebelo has created so many themes to choose from. I purchased mine from Amazon for $8.79 https://amzn.to/2A1F8AL

I also enjoy old school coloring. You’re never too old to color. It’s such a great way to relieve stress. My go to book at the moment is Fantastic Cities by Steve McDonald. $13.67 on Amazon https://amzn.to/2HZlI41. I also recommend the Artist premium watercolor pencils https://amzn.to/2HVXfwk

Despite my need for more self care, I do enjoy reading self help books. At the moment I am really enjoying reading books by Brené Brown. Brené discusses topics on vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame. I feel that she relates to many of us, and I truly love her work. $12.89 on Amazon https://amzn.to/31adYnt

Last but not least, I always bring my laptop with me everywhere I go. I absolutely love this little 13-inch pink MacBook Air $899.99 https://amzn.to/2AeFiFn It is definitely not a necessity for a trip, but I like to bring it to upload my pictures, and even work on my blog.

Now that I have shared with you what I like to bring in my bag for activities on the road, share with me some things that you like to do. Also, don’t forget that self-care is important and should be practiced regularly, not just when on vacation.

“Self-Care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.”

-Katie Reed

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Our Alaskan Anniversary (Part 3)

Our Alaskan Anniversary (Part 3)

This is the final portion (part 3) of “Our Alaskan Anniversary.” Please click here to start from the beginning: https://www.getawaysimply.com/2019/08/29/our-alaskan-anniversary/

May 25 – Cruise Glacier Bay: This was our third stop. It wasn’t a port, we didn’t get off of the ship and there were no excursions. We got up early as our ship headed into glacier bay. I have never seen such beauty in nature. It was absolutely stunning. As we moved into the glaciers, the ship stopped so that we could witness the ice cracking and breaking off into the water. I believe that Alaska only allows 2-3 cruise ships per season to explore Glacier Bay. With that being said, you may have to plan your trip around this schedule if you have a particular favorite cruise line that you prefer to travel with.

Hearing the ice crack and watching it fall.

On previous cruises through Carnival I learned that they have an option where you can have professional portraits done at a port (instead of the usual backdrops inside). We haven’t had family pictures done since our boys were younger, and we knew that Glacier Bay would be an amazing background. This was not cheap by any means, but when will you ever have another chance to have glaciers in your family portraits? We were so pleased with the work of Dreams Studios, and highly recommend it if you have a special milestone event.

May 26 – Ketchikan, AK: An Alaskan cruise is by no means a cheap cruise. Excursions are usually pricey no matter where your destination is, but let me tell you, excursions in Alaska are extremely expensive. With that being said, we chose to explore the area of Ketchikan instead of a paid tour. We had a lovely time at this port by eating at a local restaurant. My husband loved the Alaskan Ale, which is not something that we can find back home in Virginia. After lunch we explored a park and were really in for a treat when we realized that a bald eagle was sitting right in a tree in front of us. We also saw a salmon ladder and totem poles throughout the city. It was such a beautiful little town.

May 27 – Victoria, BC, Canada: This was our final port and it was a short visit. We didn’t arrive until 7:30pm and we departed at 11:59pm. With it being a short port we decided to opt out of excursions and explore the town like we did in Ketchikan. I think that the four of us were starting to get tired with all of the time changes and we didn’t stay off the ship for long. I snapped a few pictures and after a 30 minute walk we decided to enjoy some quiet time back on the ship while the other passengers were out exploring. We also took that time to begin packing everything up since our cruise docked the next morning at 7:00am.

This concludes our, “Our Alaskan Anniversary.” I fully recommend taking this trip at least once. In part one I discussed my concern of taking a cold weather vacation. I’m here to say that I would do it again in a heart beat. I have had Alaska fever since we returned home, and look forward to planning a trip back in the near future.

If you have any questions or would like helping planning a vacation itinerary, please contact me at getawaysimply@gmail.com

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Our Alaskan Anniversary (Part 2)

Our Alaskan Anniversary (Part 2)

If you are just joining in on “Our Alaskan Anniversary”, please read part one first: https://www.getawaysimply.com/2019/08/29/our-alaskan-anniversary/

This post will cover our first two ports which are Icy Strait Point, AK and Skagway, AK.

May 23 – Icy Strait Point, AK: We chose the Whale Watching & Ziprider Combination excursion that was offered by Carnival. I have to say that this might have been my most favorite excursion out of all of the cruises we have taken. We began the excursion with the whale watching portion and boarded a small boat that was filled with maybe 20 people. The boat had large windows on each side that were closed to keep us warm; but the crew would open them up when we came upon a humpback whale (which happened a lot). There was also a small area on the back of the boat where you could sit. This was not enclosed. I sat out there for the majority of the ride, as I didn’t want to miss a thing. As soon as we began our journey the wind hit my face with a clean crispness that I have never experienced before. Up ahead were a flock of birds flying at full speed as if inviting us into a magical place.

Not long after we saw our first humpback whale, we came across several bald eagles fishing and stealing food from seagulls. We also spotted two bears in the distance, but not close enough to get a clear picture. After a few minutes of bear watching, the most incredible thing happened that literally took my breath away. Nearly 3 feet away from me at the back of the boat, a whale began a small breach. I literally caught eyes with him. It was the most amazing thing to be able to witness. As we came to the end of our boat ride, we got a chance to see some sleepy seals on a buoy.

All good things must come to an end, but we still had a bit more adventure left in our day. After we exited the boat, “We boarded a bus that took us on a scenic drive through Hoonah, the largest Tlingit village in the world while on our way up a 1330′ mountain to our Ziprider adventure”. – Via Carnival Cruise Lines. We really enjoyed learning about the Tlingit culture. As we were ascending into the mountain, thoughts began going through my mind. Was I really about to allow someone to strap me into a chair and eject me down a 1330′ mountain? The temperatures were really starting to drop and I was imagining how cold it was going to be while exceeding 65mph down a mountain.

It didn’t matter anymore because I was already at the top when that thought ran through my mind. No going back now. Well…I could actually chicken out and go back down the mountain in the van, but where is the fun in that? I love the thrill of rollercoasters and such, so that was never an option to begin with. As we were coming up to our turn, we got to stand on a platform to watch the people in front of us take off. It was a great way to get the adrenaline going. I was as ready as I was going to be at that point. As I was being buckled in my seat, the ride operator began giving instructions and soon after that it was take off time. IT WAS AMAZING!! It was the most free feeling to be up so high and flying so fast down the mountain. Yes it was pretty cold, but I would do it again in a heart beat. You couldn’t beat the views and it was a once in a lifetime adventure.

My husband is videoing. You will see me on the left shortly after we take off.

May 24 – Skagway, AK: Our excursion at this port was the Takshanuk Mountain Trail by 4×4. This excursion was a lot different than any other cruise excursion we have ever taken. We began by boarding a high speed catamaran ferry that took us through fjords to get to Haines, AK. Once we arrived in Haines, we were guided to a bus that would take us to the Takshanuk trailhead. Once we arrived to our excursion spot, our family of four chose which mule (heavy duty golf cart) we would drive. Our tour guides gave us instructions and we began our trail ride into the mountain. Halfway up we stopped at a log cabin and were given delicious chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven. This was such a nice treat given that it was a little chilly.

After our little snack, we ascended higher into the mountain and stopped at a gorgeous crystal clear creek. It was so peaceful! We used our binoculars to look for wildlife, but didn’t see much at this particular stop. After a given amount of time, we were escorted back to our mules to head back to the log cabin for an amazing lunch that consisted of halibut and chicken. This halibut was the best that I have ever had. From then on I knew that halibut would never be the same back home. I really enjoyed this excursion as it wasn’t over crowded. It felt very intimate, as we were guests and not just a group of people taking a tour. The scenery was very breathtaking. I would definitely recommend this excursion to anyone looking for an easy going time that is truly enjoyable.

This concludes part 2 of “Our Alaskan Anniversary”. My next post will be the final portion. What do you think so far? Would you go on an Alaskan cruise?

If you have any questions or would like to talk about a personalized travel plan, please email me at getawaysimply@google.com

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